Librarians teach tech skills during Teen Tech Week March 2 – 8

Contact: Stephanie Kuenn


Communications Specialist, YALSA


(312) 280-2128


skuenn@ala.org
For Immediate Release


February 20, 2008




Librarians teach tech skills during Teen Tech Week March 2 - 8

More than one thousand libraries to celebrate teens' safe, ethical use of technology

CHICAGO - Recent research shows that teens use technology more than ever-they play video games, surf the Web, and listen to music they've downloaded or accessed online nearly every day, according to several recent studies. During Teen Tech Week, March 2 - 8, more than 1,500 libraries across the country will showcase technology available to teens that will enhance their information literacy skills-and show teens and their parents how to be safe while doing so.

Multiple studies show that the majority of young people lack the critical thinking and information literacy skills needed to use online resources effectively and safely. Yet in a 2006 study conducted by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, only about one-third of students surveyed reported that Internet safety and other skills were being taught at schools.

As information technology professionals, librarians play a vital role in empowering teens to make smart decisions about their online activities. Clearly, teen librarians are a much-needed resource.

"Teens and their parents can turn to librarians to help them understand how to use technology ethically and how to be safe while using it," said Paula Brehm-Heeger, president of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), sponsor of Teen Tech Week. "Librarians recognize that technology plays an important part in a teen's social and academic life, and libraries are a safe space for them to learn more about all the wonderful non print resources available to them."

Harris Interactive, in its YouthPulse 2007 study, found that 70 percent of Americans aged 13-21 accessed the Internet, while 20 percent played online games and 23 percent used a video game system. A University of Pittsburgh study found that youth aged 15-18 listened to 2.4 hours of music a day.

Knowing this, librarians planning events for this year's Teen Tech Week focused heavily on games and music, in keeping with the 2008 theme, "Tune In @ your library."

When La Puente Library, a Los Angeles County Library, opens on Tuesday, March 4, it will kick off Teen Tech Week with a digital photography class for teens. On Thursday, to make the information literacy class less intimidating and more enjoyable, La Puente will offer gift card giveaways for correct answers to scavenger hunt queries about databases and other online resources discussed. Teens will also gain knowledge about safety and privacy by shopping online for library books to add to the young adult collection. Friday will be a fun technology day, as teens will have the opportunity to compete in Wii gaming, Guitar Hero, and Dance, Dance Revolution.

Queens Library in Forest Hills, N.Y. will launch a "Tech Buddies" program that matches teens with seniors who would like to become better versed in technology while teaching safety and privacy skills along the way. The program will focus on the more entertaining and fun aspects of technology: podcasts, short video, and video games. The selected teens and seniors will gather for Wii games and snacks during Teen Tech Week and continue to meet the next 10 weeks for tech activities.

Teen Tech Week is sponsored by YALSA, the fastest growing division of the American Library Association, and is a national initiative aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults. Its purpose is to ensure that teens are competent and ethical users of technology, especially the nonprint resources offered through libraries, such as DVDs, databases, audiobooks, and videogames.

The general theme of Teen Tech Week is "Get Connected @ Your Library," while the focus theme is "Tune In @ Your Library." Dungeons and Dragons is this year's Teen Tech Week corporate sponsor. To learn more about Teen Tech Week, visit
www.ala.org/teentechweek.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos, and audio books for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to
www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390 or e-mail:
yalsa@ala.org.